Sunday, July 28, 2013

Flames of War: The Mortars

Hi everyone,

After the depressing, yet educational, session with the StuGs, I have moved on to another area of my army - the mortars.

I have just finished painting up two platoons of mortars.  One is a complete 120mm platoon, and the other is a 80mm platoon - this is not a complete platoon.

Let's start off with the 80mm mortar platoon first.  According to the Grenadier Company in the rulebook, a 80mm mortar team can have up to 6 mortar teams, 3 observer teams, and a NCO team.  In the heavy weapons box set from Plastic Soldier Company, you only get 4 sprues.  So I could only do 4 mortar teams, 2 observer teams, and a NCO team.  See the picture below. 
I was going to add the 80mm mortars from the Wargames Factory box set, but like their soldiers, they were just to small when compared to the PSC ones.  I have taken a picture as a reference for this article.

As you can see, the bigger mortar to the left is the PSC one and the smaller one to the right is the WF mortar.   Since I really wanted a full 80mm mortar platoon, as well as needing two 80mm mortar teams for my HQ and another HMG platoon, I decided to purchase another box set of heavy weapons.

Next up is the 120mm mortar platoon.  This is made up of 4 teams of 120mm mortars with 2 observer teams and a NCO team.  There is the option of adding two RSO fully tracked trucks, which I will add eventually.
Overall I think they look like late war german soldiers.  So in my book, that makes them Germans.  With that, my Flames of War month comes to a happy ending.  This does not mean that I am done with the products just yet. Not by a long shot.  I will still be posting aticles and product reviews regarding Flames of War, but for now that is all.

Until next time, farewell and good health;


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Flames of War : The StuGs

Hi everyone,

Today's tale is one of tragedy, adversity and perseverance.  OK, OK, enough with the melodrama!, seriously though, this  is one post where you will see how things can go terribly wrong but end up on a good-but-not-so-bright-note.

So, it all begins with a box of 15mm StuGs.  I was tremendously happy with them and very, very motivated to start painting them up.  As I have mentioned in previous posts, I haven't played a historical game in quite awhile, and I'm really charged up for it.

Well, after I built them up I gave them an foundation coat of Dunkelgelb with my airbrush.  I had already done my research, and I decided to go with a hard edged camouflage scheme.

I then spry-painted them German brown.  This was to be my first camo pattern. After the brown dried properly, I got some Jovi soft playing dough to cover up areas I wanted the brown to show through.  After which I sprayed everything in olive green - my next camo colour.

When the olive green had dried, I added some more Jovi playing dough, to cover up the areas of olive green that I wanted visible and then finally sprayed everything with dunkelgelb again.  So far so good - or so it seemed!!!


It is not until I started to take off the Jovi playing dough that I discovered the true horror that awaited me.  The Jovi had stuck to most of the olive green, but strangely enough to none of the brown!!
After half an hour of cursing, I took several deep breaths and start the laborious chore of removing the f#*k*#g Jovi.  I did this with a blunted tooth-pick and slowly rubbed on the olive green areas very gently.  The picture above shows the process of removal an hour after commencing.

After nearly two hours I had managed to remove most of the Jovi, with only minimal olive paint removed, but the paint was significantly dulled to the point of not being olive green anymore. So I had to retouch most of the areas again with my trusty old series seven brush.
As you can see from the photo above, I did manage to salvage the StuGs.  Although for a moment there I was quite desperate.  Well, I then added the decals I bought from the Plastic Soldier Company, and started to add the details.

Painting in the details, like adding washes for depth, battle damage, and weathering are the most enjoyable part of the process.  Overall, I think I managed to turn tragedy into triumph, even though they did not come out exactly as I had envisioned them.  At least I have learned some vital lessons before painting my Tigers!

Once again, that is all for now.  The next installment of my Flames of War month will be the mortars, and then it is off to play-testing.

Until then, farewell and good health,


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Flames of War - The Basic Company

Hi everyone,

I have just finished the basic platoon requirements for my Grenadier Company.  That is an HQ made up of two command teams and a Panzerschrek team.

My approach to painting this army was very simple - IF THEY LOOK LIKE GERMANS, THEN THEY ARE GERMANS.  I was not interested in duplicating exact historical details, nor even uniform colour for that matter.  I just wanted them to look like German Grenadiers from an actual hands-on gaming perspective.  The point to remember, as I have pointed out on other occasions, is that this army is purely for gaming and not for display.  I think I managed this more or less successfully.
Below is a close up of the command team.  I can expand on this to include two 80mm mortar teams - which I definitely will.

Next up are the Grenadier platoons.  These are both made up of Rifle/MG teams, except for the command teams which are both SMG/Panzerfaust teams.  I managed to paint up one a day, while I based them on the second day.  I found that by basing them twice with flock you can cover up the figure's base shape, which otherwise would stand out.  Note that the bases are not painted, just flocked - quick and simple, yet they still look decent.

Here is another pic of my proud Wehrmacht soldiers all together.  A point I would like to make clear is that I will not be doing any SS sons of b*****s.   I will focus solely on Heer company of the Wehrmacht.  At most I will include an elite unit of Fallschirmjäger - but that is all.
I also managed to paint up a platoon of MG42 machine gunners.  In the Open Fire box set briefing I can I have up to one, but I can expand on this to two later on by using the briefing from the hardback rulebook.
Well that is all for now.  Next post will be about the StuGs.  The first picture shows them all built up and ready for painting.

Until then, farewell and good health,


Sunday, July 7, 2013

Flames of War - Part 2

Hi everyone,

Today I would like to make a short review of the products I have bought for my Flames of War army.  I bought 3 box sets from the Plastic Soldier Company's (PSC) 15mm range of Germans.  The first two are infantry sets.  Late war German infantry and heavy weapons infantry sets.

The infantry sets are excellent in my opinion and I highly recommend them.  They are well detailed enough with a good number of combinations and poses to make them more versatile than most 1/72 sets.  For example you have some models that can switch between rifles and sub-machine guns, depending on what type of team you are building.  There are other figures that also need to be assembled which can be a hassle with such small scale and one has to be careful, but this does allow for poses that could not otherwise be done if cast in one piece.  They will also require a bit of mold line cleaning.

From these two box sets I can easily build an HQ, 2 full Grenadier platoons, a MG42 machine gun platoon, a 120mm mortar platoon and half an 82mm mortar platoon.  That is a playable force in itself.

The only downside to these PSC sets is that they do not come with bases.  You will have to buy them separately.  On a bright note they are light brown in colour so you do not even have to paint them - just flock and go!

I also opted to buy the box set from Wargames Factory.  I have to say I was a bit disappointed.  They are slightly smaller than the PSC miniatures, despite being finer.  Yet there is very little pose variation.  Also you have a lot of sub-machine gun models when what you really need is rifle men.  I found this a strange choice. 

They use to be soft plastic but are now being manufactured in hard plastic, which is a positive.  You also get two 82mm mortars besides panzerfausts and panzerscrecks.  Once again, these are smaller than PSC and the diffrence is notable. 

The box set also comes with bases, which is another positive.  The one thing that surprised me most though is that their molds require hardly any cleaning at all.  You just need to clip them off the sprue and start painting them up.

The pics below are some comparisons between WF and PSC infantry.  As you can see for yourselves the WF (darker plastic) are slighty closer to 15mm, but the larger 15mm of PSC (lighter plastic) allows for better compatabiulity with Battlefront miniatures.

The Hobbit Aryan!

I have decided to place one rifleman from the Wargames Factory set in each of my platoon teams (I might as well use them!).  This will increase pose variation and will also allow me to build up another platoon of Grenadiers to a maximum of 3.  The size difference will not be that noticeable, especially if you raise them slightly with putty on the base.  Having said that, I will not buy another one of these sets unless they increase the size and change the poses and weapons' combinations.

As for the tanks I bought a box of StuGs and Tigers.  Once again they are very good with respects to detail, size and value for money.  You get 5 StuGs and 4 tiger models - i.e. enough to make two full platoons.  In each box you also get extra parts to make early, mid or late war variations, as well as command vehicles, which is a nice touch.  The only drawback is that all the models will look the same.  There are no options for customisation like stowage, but this is a minor concern.

Another point to note is that the Stugs from the Open Fire box set are slightly larger than the PSC ones.  This is a bit of a bummer, but for the price you pay, it is certainly worth the slight reduction in size.

All I need now, in order to build up a complete Grenadier company, are an anti-tank platoon, an anti-aircraft platoon and an artillery platoon.  Unfortunately, PSC do not make these yet in 15mm, so I will have to fork out a bit more and buy the Battlefront ones.

Well that is all for now.  Next post I will present my first painted miniatures.  Until then...

Farewell and good health.


Monday, July 1, 2013

Flames of War - Part 1

Hi everyone,

This month I start my new wargaming project from none other than Flames of War (FOW).  I haven't played a historical wargame in a very, very long time, so you can understand how eager I am to start playing.  I had the 3rd edition rulebook but never got around to playing.  With the end of GW's Specialist Game support it is very hard to find any players in Epic or Warmaster - so it was time to move on.

So my only problem was which army to build?  I really wanted to start an Australian force, since I was born down under, but I have a strong bias towards German tanks, even though I don't care much for playing Germans.

In the end I decided to go for Germans, especially after seeing the FOW FTW episodes on Beasts of War.  I was going to start a tank company straight away, but thought better to begin with a Grenadier kompanie or a basic infantry company and then expand later on.

I chose the briefing (army lists in FOW gargon) from the Open Fire starter box.  I did not buy the box, but you can download the Quick Start rules here for free.   As you can see below, in order to build this army, I needed an HQ and a minimum of 2 infantry platoons - shown as black boxes.  The rest in gray boxes are optional.

I decided to build all 3 infantry platoons.  This would give a a strong core army.  I also have the options of adding a panzer platoon of 5 Stugs or panzer IV and a platoons of heavy tanks taken from either King Tigers or Tigers.  I chosen a platoon of Stugs and Tigers for now.  This way I will still get to play with tanks.  I can always build a tank company based around Panzers and Panthers later on.

As models go, I went primarily with the Plastic Soldier Company products, at least for my infantry and certain tanks as they are relatively cheap yet well detailed. I will be posting a review of them next week.

As rules go, I will focus on the quick starter rules for now.  At least until I get a good grip with the basics.  Then I will move on to the main rule book.

As for the Open Fire box set, I have decided not to buy it for the time being.  Not because it is not worth it, in fact it is great value for money, but since I already have the rule book and do not want to build and American/British force for now, I would do better just to buy some box sets.  Maybe in the future I might encourage someone to buy a box with me and we can share the contents.

Well until next time, it's Achtung Baby from me and ...

Farewell and good health,



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